All eyes will be on Motorola next week as the troubled firm's device division prepares to launch its first Android-based device (or devices) at the GigaOm Mobilize 2009 conference in San Francisco.
There's no question that Motorola needs to hit a home run with this announcement. The company desperately needs a big win in the device space to reassure the industry that it is still a formidable player. But is an Android-powered device the answer to Motorola's troubles?
I spoke yesterday with Motorola's Christy Wyatt, vice president of the company's software applications and ecosystem, and expressed my skepticism about Android. It's not that I think Android lacks potential--I just think that it's going to take more time for developers to embrace it. Most of the developers I've spoken with say that they are resistant to investing development dollars in Android until there are more commercial devices and more end users to buy their applications. And without creative applications from talented developers, Android won't live up to the hype.
But Wyatt said that the tide is turning. She thinks mobile developers are embracing Android and seeing the benefits of an open-source world. And she's confident that Android offers developers not only a great technology on which to build apps but also a solid business model for bringing those apps to market. If you want to read more of my interview with Wyatt, click here.
I hope Wyatt is right. Clearly, the wireless consumer is hungry for innovative devices that can deliver a compelling user experience. In the past, Motorola has been able to creatively combine functional features with great form factors in popular devices like the Razr. Will it be able to do that again with Android? I hope so. --Sue